Mar 29, 2011

vintage fabric pillow & my first show!

I am so excited- shortly before I was going to post today I got word that I was accepted into my first show of the year! Check that goal off the list for 2011!  Yahoo!

I was busy making this pillow last night.  My intention from the beginning was that it would be going up for sale.
Let me tell you- I am so in love with this fabric!!  I definitely will be making some for myself!
I found a vintage flat sheet at one of my favorite thrift shops, and the turquoise flowers had me instantly.  Bonus points for the lovely edging that I was able to cut off and use for embellishment.

This large lumbar pillow is super comfy.  I added the ball fringe that I absolutely adore.  I add it to so many things in my own home, because I find it so charming. 

Like I said before, I was able to use the top edge of the sheet to embellish the pillow- loving the embroidered edge and spray of flowers.  I also added some vintage buttons to it.

My plan is to also make some square pillows in the same fabric. 
I have several turquoise items that this will look great with in my space for the show!

Here's the promotional flyer that I received.  I will be posting an admission coupon on my sidebar shortly.  
This will be a super fun event in a gorgeous space!  

 If you are local, I hope to see you there!

Mar 28, 2011

Ballard Designs inspired message board

Ballard Designs has so many wonderful pieces in their catalog- I keep looking through the current one for inspiration!

I've been admiring the burlap and nail head message board for awhile now- for our office makeover.
As much as I love Ballard, I figured I could probably make my own for a lot less than the $79 asking price for the large board.

Here's how I made mine- you might find ways to tweak it yourself.
I'm really happy with the results!

This is Ballard's version and what I worked off of:

I started with some basic supplies:
foam core board
cork squares
fabric- (using my new fabric BFF, Osnaburg)
spray adhesive
staple gun
nail head trim

I went with a square shape just to keep things workable with the cork.  It was easier to cut the foam core and less messy.
I had to trim and piece the foam core a bit so the cork was to a solid backing:

I just used painter's tape since it was what I had next to my worktable.  Cover the seams completely so you don't have it flopping around.
Gluing the squares onto the foam core was the next step:

Once I had let these dry for a few minutes, I got out the spray adhesive and gave it a light coat of spray.

Then, I carefully laid out the Osnaburg onto the board.  I left a 2" seam all around the edge to wrap around to the back side.
Next, I pulled the edges slightly and stapled with my gun to give the edges a smooth, crisp look.

Once the fabric was on, I put four nails into the corners directly through the board to the wall.

The nail head trim went right over the nails to hide them. 
After I had the four corners covered, I did halfway point nail heads so they would be evenly spaced apart like this:

Once that was done, I just measured 4" between the remaining nail heads and it came out pretty evenly.
Here's what was on the wall before:

-and now with my new Ballard inspired message board:

This will now be a fun spot for photos and memorabilia for our Hollister inspired office!
My brother in law was kind enough to loan me his 1969 Hawaii license plate for the room.
I also kept one of the vintage postcards (previously framed in the before shot) and added a 1963 Hawaii travel brochure that I picked up at an antique store.
I found out that you could fly round trip to Hawaii, first class, (from the West Coast) for $338!
Wouldn't that be nice!  :)

Speaking of low cost, here's the cost breakdown of my project:
foam core board: $3.49
package of cork squares: $7.99
Osnaburg fabric 1 yard (with leftovers): $4.99/ yd.
nail head trim: $1.79 per package- I used just under one and a half packages
adhesives: I used what I had on hand with my supplies
Total $20.05

I saved almost $59 to make it myself!
I hope this inspires you to make a designer piece yourself!

Mar 22, 2011

a bicycle adventure

At Mile 19, there is an old white farmhouse that sits amidst towering Douglas Fir trees.
In front of the house is this sign:

In the three years that we've lived in our home, each spring, I see this sign.  I find it incredibly charming in it's details- the notched edges, the almost calligraphy-like aspect of the painted letters.

This Spring Break, we are enjoying the simple things.  When the sign popped up, I said to Hannah, 'wouldn't it be fun to ride our bikes over there and buy some daffodils?
Our one and only day that was scheduled for dry weather fit perfectly into our plan.

We hopped on our bikes, and set out on our adventure.
I have always loved bike riding. 
Two years ago, two days before Christmas, Hannah told us she was asking Santa for a very special present for us.  Santa was a very wise and clever man- as he always is- and clued us into Hannah's wish:
Bikes for mom and dad. 
Two days before Christmas, and all of the Christmas presents bought already.
Santa left a note that year saying that he would let the people at the bike store know that we would have bikes waiting for us in the spring.

We set off down our road, headed towards the daffodils.

Past the schoolyard filled with daisies....

...and empty farm fields. 
The Cascade mountain range still showing signs of winter.

At last we made it to the farm. 
A small bucket with a bundle of cut daffodils awaiting the next buyer.
A hand written note saying, 'Please pay by the back porch'.
I asked Hannah to hold the flowers while I put our money in the bucket.

We put them carefully in the basket for our ride home.

We were enjoying the nice weather and ride so much, we decided to take a detour through a neighborhood with a golf course.  We rode around the perimeter of the neighborhood and stopped at my favorite place- a little wooden bridge with this serene view:

We headed home, and I put our $1 purchase in a simple jar by the front door. 

I enjoy the simple things in life.

Mar 21, 2011

mirror makeover and a find from Goodwill

Yay! Spring is here!
 Spring Break is underway for us. Break always means we have fantastic sunny weather the week before or after break, and drizzle-wet-yuck during. 
No plans other than a fun activity every day with my girl.
We have a big trip planned in a few short weeks, so we're staying local for now.

Yesterday I got to work on a mirror that I purchased from a thrift shop a few weeks ago.  I loved the shape of it and it was in good condition, so I snagged it. 
I have a weakness for mirrors!  I have four in the works right now!

Here was the before.  It was pretty grody.
Lots of bits of food and sticky stuff all over it.

After giving it a thorough cleaning I went to work on it with my vintage sheet music and Mod Podge.  I had originally planned to paint it a single color, but just thought that would be too boring for this. 
I'm so glad I went with plan B.

And now:

Playing up the lines of the mirror, and the graphic nature of the sheet music really brought out the details on this.

I won't be keeping this one, although my husband likes it so much he wants to!


Last weekend I went to some tag sales with my friend Janie, and we decided to end with a trip to Goodwill. 
I haven't been having much luck there recently- can't decide if I'm just missing the good stuff, or if everyone is hanging on to their stuff for upcoming garage sale season....
Anyway, I walked away with a cart full of good stuff!  This is a good thing, because I really needed to find some things for the show I'm trying to get into, and my Etsy shop is running low on items.

I went down the framed art aisle and came across these: first I picked them up and then walked away from them, but as I continued to look, they started to whisper to me.  You know what I'm talking about?  ;)
So I went back with Janie, and asked her what she thought- the frames were very unusual, but I love turquoise, so for me it was the highlight.  She thought they were interesting, so I came home with them.
I could tell the art was good. 
I did my research, and I'm glad I got them!!

Jan Korthals was a Dutch impressionist working in both oils and pen and watercolor.
The two I picked up are prints- not originals, but even so, they aren't Goodwill prices when they sell!
Both are Italian scenes.
Do you recognize either of these?

I can't find much on these particular two, but it's fun to find out that a hidden gem was found in the aisles at Goodwill!
The framing alone is a work of art!  They both have some pretty serious scratches at the tops of the frames, but I think with some light sanding and some touch up with paint, they will look good as new.

Thanks for letting me share my project and thrifty find. 

Mar 19, 2011

quiz time! style diagnostic

I just got back in from my first spring yard cleaning. 
It's so fun to see little nests of ladybugs, buds on branches, and hear birds chirping!

Now that I'm done with my outside work, I need to get going on some projects, but what I'd really like to do is snuggle up in my giant blanket and take a nap!

Maybe you're having a lazy Saturday.  I always like little quizzes- nothing too mentally straining, and a bit of entertainment in the process.

I stumbled on this website the other day, and took the Style Quiz to see what it would reveal about my style.

"Park Avenue Cocktail"
my cohorts in this vein?
Marlene Deitrich
Audrey Hepburn
Frank Sinatra

:)  Yahoo!

Maybe your style is

Modern NW
Modern Homes Portland
English charmer


Beach Eclectic


Have fun- let me know what your style is!

Click here to go take your own Style Quiz

Stylish Home

Mar 17, 2011

a simple St. Patrick's Day celebration

I love St. Patrick's Day!

Three years ago on St. Patrick's Day, we met some friends at our local pub (yes, really, it was a pub)
and found out that we had sold our house. 
In 3 days.  For full price!
That was a fun night celebrating.

Usually though for St. Patrick's, we like to invite friends or family over and have a semi-traditional meal.

Only I don't serve green beer, or require funny green outfits.

 Here's how we like to celebrate this spring holiday in our home.

I typically buy a small shamrock plant and display it for the weeks before and after the holiday.  They are a really cute little plant with dainty white flowers.  When it gets to be dark in the evening the leaves fold downward.  In the daylight they perk back up.
The shamrock represents the Trinity.  It was how St. Patrick spread the story of the gospel.

I have a couple coffee table books that I put out on display. 
This is my favorite. 
I saw it in a book store several years ago- there was a whole series of  "A Day in the Life...."  books.  When I went back to get it a few months later, I was so sad to find out that not only was it gone, it was out of print!
A while later, (maybe a year?) still kicking myself for not getting it when I had the chance, I decided to look on Ebay.
Good thing I did!
This book chronicles one day in May around the Irish isle.

I spruced up my everyday wreath with the flags of Ireland, and added a bit of moss wrapped in gold thread to the base.

I also added a bit of moss to my apothecary jars.
A circular white hand stitched table top linen is underneath.

Even my antique piano got some special vintage sheet music.

When we have our St. Patrick's Day party, we always have a playlist of Irish musicians.
The Chieftains, Sinead O'Connor, U2, even the Riverdance soundtrack.
Lotsa fun!

Our chalkboard posts an Irish blessing for our guests.

Sometimes we do the corned beef, and sometimes I've done a pot roast or a good steak.  Ireland is known for it's grass fed beef. 
But have you ever thought of the seafood?  Oysters, salmon, haddock?

This year I opted for a smoked salmon spread as an appetizer.
Here's the recipe, it's always a hit. 

Smoked Salmon Spread

1 package of smoked salmon
1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/4 cup celery, chopped fine
fresh parsley
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise

Chop smoked salmon, dill pickle, celery and parsley until fine. Add celery salt and mayo, mix together.  For a creamier spread, you can put this in a food processor.  Serve with crackers, sliced baguette or carrots and celery.

One of my other favorite twists, is
Sweet Cabbage Salad

1/3 cup plus 2 T canola oil
6 T cider vinegar
4 T sugar
kosher salt and pepper to taste
Mix these together and set aside.

1 cabbage or one package preshredded coleslaw cabbage
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
4 T sesame seeds
4 T sliced almonds

Toss together and serve immediately.

This offers a nice sweetness and crunch in contrast to corned beef.  Really yummy!

I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating this holiday. 
I leave you with this cheeky Irish saying:
"May those who love us, love us; and those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping.”

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

sharing with:
Sassy Sites! St. Patrick's Day party
Wow Us Wednesdays

Mar 14, 2011

Five Felted Rings giveaway winner and freezer paper stencil tutorial

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the Five Felted Rings Giveaway this past week!

The randomly selected winner is.....
Kim @ The Harris Family!
Kim, please email Sarah at to claim your ring!  :)


After my post on Friday, several of you asked about the freezer paper method of stenciling, so I thought I'd offer a tutorial on how it's done.  I had a second chair to redo, so it was the perfect opportunity to document the process.

Step One: Print out your design.  Lay a sheet of freezer paper over the design with the paper side facing up, and the shiny side down.

Step Two: Trace your design onto the freezer paper.

Step Three: with a very sharp exacto knife, cut out the letters.  Make sure you save any middle pieces.

Step Four: Place freezer paper on fabric.  I put the actual seat underneath so I could make sure the design was where I wanted it, in case it ran over the edges.
With a dry, (no steam) moderately hot iron, press the freezer paper onto the fabric.  The shiny side will adhere to the fabric.  I added in all of the middle pieces after the initial ironing.

Step Five:  With acrylic paint and a semi stiff brush, paint over your cutouts.  I did a mix of "pouncing" or dabbing the brush over the design, as well as brushing it on. It creates a nice mottled effect.
Let the paper stay on the fabric, and allow the paint to dry.

Step Six: Once the paint is dry, peel off the freezer paper.  You can continue with your project as is, or if you want to "age" your fabric a bit more, continue with the next step.
Step Seven: Wash your fabric in the washer with warm water and soap.  Dry on regular heat. It softens the look and removes some of the harder edges of the paint.

That's it!  Pretty simple!

Here's chair number two.  It has simpler lines than the first chair.  It is also vintage, but not quite as old as the first one. I used the same method to distress this one.  I may tweak it a bit more, but I like the similarities and differences of the two.

You may be wondering about the design....
I Googled "French grain sacks" and made up my own design based on a few different looks.
A closeup of some of the detail on the chair.
This one will also be waiting in the wings to go to the show.

I hope you all had a fun weekend!
Have a great week!